By Jan De Burgh
The beach at Bonege 2 (sometimes spelt Bonegi) is the kind that people remember. I have often seen its twin, staring at me from postcard racks as I flip the stand around while waiting for a plane at the airport or a drink at a tourist café. It’s the kind of beach that people shouldn’t go a lifetime without having the joy of sitting upon and experiencing first hand.
Bonege is approximately a 20 minute trip out of Honiara, towards Visale. The roads and bridges have either been fixed or have good substitutes in place, making it an easy trip after the April 2014 floods (no tolls in place at the time of writing). You know when you are approaching the entrance as giant palm trees appear to your right, providing a welcoming wave.
I loved walking up and down the beach at Bonege 2. The soft sand scrunched quietly between my toes and every so often the warm ocean water lapped at my feet. I breathed in the fresh salty air and wondered to myself how I came to be so lucky as to have this as my local seaside destination, if only for a short while.
Bonege 2 is known with a numeral to distinguish the dive site from two others, also in the Bonege area. The sites contain World War Two shipwrecks from vessels that were sunk in Iron Bottom Sound during World War Two (I believe the one below was Japanese, named Kinugawa). This dark history has created a vast array of treats for divers. Snorkeling is also good in these areas, although it has been a little murky the times I visited.
The beach is different to many others along the Guadalcanal coast, as there is plenty of sand to leisurely enjoy. You can make sandcastles with ease and walk long stretches without needing reef shoes to protect yourself. A lot of the beaches near Honiara do not enjoy this privilege as they have a shoreline of coral pieces.
As with any beach I have so far visited, you will need to pay a fee to those whose land you are enjoying. The prices at Bonege may seem a little steep, but I got the impression there was perhaps room to negotiate. As the sign below says, advertised prices are $100 per person for diving and $30 each for snorkelling.
For those who prefer the ocean from afar, there is plenty of shade to set up your chair beneath and a few huts incase of rain. I quietly sat and read by book underneath a tree while ‘supervising’ my friends swimming and giggling in the water. It was blissfully relaxing and, for me at least, it was an opportunity to feel thankful about what a beautiful world we live in.